This week Israeli commandos seized 50 tons of arms headed for Palestine. The Israelis claim the arms were bought by the PNA from Iran. The PNA is denying any connection. It is more likely they were headed for the newer generation of leaders emerging in Palestine (See ‘Palestinians Divided’ by Khalil Shikaki on this quarter’s Foreign Affairs) or perhaps Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Historically, Israel has publicly targeted the more moderate voices of Palestinians, rightly concerned that Palestinians might be perceived as rational and decent people. They have gone so far in the past as to actively support some of the more radical Islamic groups, using ever-popular British methods of divide and conquer. (See ‘The Fateful Triangle’ by Noam Chomsky) They do this to de-legitimize all Palestinians by making the moderates seem ineffective and unable to keep order, and the radicals seem dangerous enough to be taken seriously as threats. The truth of these latest allegations is already being questioned in Britain and it has the smell of Israeli counter-intelligence all over it to me.
In any case, it must bring back memories for Sharon and his old gang, members of Irgun Zvai Leumi and The Stern Gang. Some of them must still remember the events of October 1935. Back then, the Zionists were the minority in Palestine, comprising about 20% of the population of present day Israeli. (Comparable to the percentage of Palestinians or “Israeli Arabs” in Israel today.) Back in October 1935, a large quantity of arms was seized at Jaffa Airport. These were Zionist arms being smuggled in from Belgium. Talk about Déjé vu! I was amazed to see Sharon seizing a photo opportunity, in front of the captured arms, calling Arafat a “terrorist” and not feel the least bit hypocritical.
All of this spin is irrelevant except for the fact that the weapons didn’t get through. The PNA is the legal government of a people under military occupation. There is nothing “terrorist” about this purchase, whoever made it. Our President and our State Department told us that Israel has a “right to defend itself”, so why don’t the Palestinians have that same right. If the U.S. is going to be an advocate of “might-makes-right”, it cannot take sides over this issue of arms, especially since Israeli has 1000-1 military and weapons superiority. Its been said over and over, but the vast majority (over 1,000) killed in the last year have been Palestinian, 145 of them children! Another 20,000 have been seriously injured or maimed. They have no right to defend themselves? The Israelis can have no reasonable expectation of security until they comply with UN Resolution 242, which calls for the ending of the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights, UN Resolution 194 which demands that the Palestinians be allowed to return to their homes: homes from which Israel drove them illegally over the past fifty-plus years, as well as the 67 other UN Resolutions regarding assassinations, torture, return of stolen land and property, etc. which Israel flouts.